“I was lucky enough to get a few hours with Vanya Cullen on her property in mid-October, a fascinating exploration of culture, history, agriculture, spirituality and art, as always,” wrote Mike Bennie in his introduction on The Wine Front. “So many outstanding wines to emerge.”
But first this, just in time for Christmas: the latest iteration of Vanya’s Cullen Vineyard in the form of the purest organic-grown Chardonnay. It won’t surprise you to know that it’s fantastic again. “2017 turned out to be another great season for our vineyards and our 1976 Chardonnay vines produced some incredible fruit, with very low yields of 3.2 tonnes per hectare,” Vanya reported. “This is a wine defined by great purity, elegance and a fantastic acid backbone; a vintage destined for great ageing potential.”
And the critical response has echoed those sentiments. “Bright acidity is in perfect harmony with the wine; the palate is refined and taut, long and beautifully modulated,” says Huon Hooke. “Great line and length. A superb Chardonnay.” And from Ray Jordan: “Oh gosh this is good Chardonnay. It’s a classy wine that captures vineyard and vintage to perfection.”
2017 CULLEN KEVIN JOHN CHARDONNAY RRP $140
2017 turned out to be another great season for our vineyards and our 1976 Chardonnay vines produced some incredible fruit, with very low yields of 3.2 tonne/hectare. This is a wine defined by great purity, elegance and a fantastic acid backbone: a vintage destined for great ageing potential.
The Chardonnay grapes were hand harvested from the Cullen Vineyard on fruit and flower days between 8th February and 6th March. The fruit was whole bunch-pressed and fermented with wild yeast in different vessels: barriques, amphorae and ceramic egg. The wine underwent natural malolactic fermentation prior to receiving five months’ maturation in French oak, of which 30% was new.
Brilliant pale gold in colour. Perfumed with notes of pears, white flowers and citrus which are lifted by the barrel ageing. The palate is very fine and already complex, combining Anjou pear, white nectarine and some almond notes. Wonderfully balanced by the natural acid structure. – Vanya Cullen
I was lucky enough to get a few hours with Vanya Cullen on her property in mid-October, a fascinating exploration of culture, history, agriculture, spirituality and art, as always. I got a preview of this wine and ran a rule over some of the 2018 barrels alongside. I got to see the two new Vanya Cabernet wines too. So many outstanding wines to emerge. The shift to alternative vessels is giving the wines further levity and freshness, it feels. This wine sees about 30% new oak which is joined by both ceramic and amphora-matured Chardonnay. The wine is a result of vineyard selection, with fruit sourced from four blocks of Chardonnay. Vanya explained that there is no recipe for this wine, however, that it is always done on fruit selection from vine.
Finely wrought wine, lacy and pure, shows incredible acid line and a web of mineral, fruit and light savouriness surrounding. Drives with authority and precision across the palate, feels very pure, energetic and refreshing. An exceptional wine here, you get that from texture alone. Stellar release. 96 points. Mike Bennie, The Wine Front November 2018
Light, bright yellow hue, with a fresh and yet complex bouquet which is driven by refined fruit aromas, the oak and artefact very much in the background. The complexities are there but subtle and the wine is still very young and unevolved. Bright acidity is in perfect harmony with the wine; the palate is refined and taut, long and beautifully modulated. Great line and length. A superb Chardonnay, which is likely to offer even more if cellared for a year or two. 96 points. Huon Hooke, The Real Review November 2018
Oh gosh, this is good Chardonnay. There is such precision and purity, yet it reveals complexity and layers that continue to emerge from the palate. The fruit is exceptional off these biodynamic vineyards, and then in the wines fermentation with wild yeasts and then a further five months in barriques and puncheons have played out with just the right touch. It’s a classy wine that captures vineyard and vintage to perfection. 98 points. Ray Jordan, The West Australian Wine Guide 2019